Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Court
BAI and IJDH have the backs of Haitians who are threatened, harassed or arrested because they are working for a better Haiti—speaking out, organizing, protesting or engaging the justice system to work for all Haitians and hold even the powerful accountable. BAI gets Haitian activists and lawyers out of jail, defends them in court and gets the word out to Haitian media. IJDH brings the weight of international advocacy and media to bear by taking the cases to international courts as needed. Every activist or lawyer freed or defended is another voice back in the fight to advance Haiti, knowing that the risks they take are mitigated by BAI’s and IJDH’s readiness to step in.
In 2013, BAI Managing Attorney Mario Joseph was a finalist for the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders—presented by a prestigious collaboration of the world’s foremost human rights organizations. The award recognized the constant danger he faces for his human rights work in Haiti, in hopes that the international attention would give Mario some protection. Watch Mario’s nomination video here.

New Developments:

August, 2020

IJDH and BAI made a submission (informal translation to French here, along with Attachment 1 and Attachment 2) to the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders in response to her call for input to a report on killings of human rights defenders. The submission highlights in particular an assassination attempt and death threat directed at BAI attorney Job Gene in connection with his work as a human rights defender. It further explains that Haiti’s human rights defenders are facing immense risks in the current environment in Haiti: there have been a number of documented killings and attacks directed at human rights defenders, the government has been violently suppressing peaceful protests, and has been implicated by local human rights organizations in violence directed against civilians. BAI’s managing attorney, Mario Joseph, has been repeatedly cautioned regarding his safety given his work on behalf of Haiti’s most vulnerable and outspoken criticism of the current administration. The recent assassination of constitutional scholar and Port-au-Prince Bar Association president Monferrier Dorval, just hours after he gave an interview where he opposed rushed elections and called for change, further highlights immense risks faced by Haiti’s human rights defenders and civil society activists. Those risks are also often shared by their families.

Case Highlights

2017

URGENT ACTION – Haiti: Human Rights Defenders’ Lives in Danger – Amnesty International, April 12, 2017
Boniface v. Viliena Complaint for Damages and Injunctive Relief – March 22, 2017 (French translation) 
Des avocats de Droits Humains exhortent le Gouvernement haïtien à dénoncer et à enquêter sur les menaces de mort proférées à l’encontre de Monsieur Pierre ESPERANCE, défenseur des droits humains en Haïti / Human rights lawyers urge the Haitian Government to denounce and investigate death threats against human rights defender Pierre Espérance – January 3, 2017

2015

Human Rights Group Congratulate Victims on their Victory in Historic Murder Trial – August 3, 2015

2014

BAI Frees Haitian Political Prisoner – December 31, 2014

Articles

2017

Haiti’s Violent Politics Are Taken to Court. In Boston. (New York Times) – April 1, 2017
Accused in Haiti, Malden man is latest to face lawsuit here (The Boston Globe) – March 31, 2017
Lawyers: Death of Haiti plaintiff in US suit ‘suspicious’ (Associated Press) – March 31, 2017
Has a murderer in Haiti been hiding in plain sight in Massachusetts? (The Boston Globe) – March 27, 2017
Far From Murder Charges, Haitian Immigrant Lives Quietly In Malden (WBUR) – March 24, 2017
Boston bus driver and former mayor in Haiti sued for human rights abuses in U.S. court (Miami Herald) – March 23, 2017
US group sues ex-Haitian mayor over human rights claims (Star Tribune) – March 23, 2017
Former Haitian mayor sued in Boston over human rights abuses (Reuters) – March 23, 2017

2015

Lettre ouverte à Evans Paul, nouveau Premier ministre d’Haïti : Faites des droits humains la priorité de votre nouveau gouvernement. (Amnesty International) – February 2, 2015 (English here)
The Attack on Human Rights Defenders in Haiti (Other Worlds) – January 28, 2015

2014

Amnesty: Haiti human rights activist threatened (Miami Herald) – April 15, 2014
Leading Human Rights Activist Daniel Dorsainvil and Wife Killed in Haiti (RYOT News) – February 18, 2014
Haiti, encore des victimes ! C’ en est trop … (Defenseurs des Opprimés) – February 11, 2014
Haïti-société: assassinat d’un important militant des droits de l’homme (Haiti Press Network) – February 9, 2014

2013

“Now They’re All Dead”: Threats of Assassination to Human Rights Advocates In Haiti (Other Worlds) – August 21, 2013

2012

Haiti: Human Rights Lawyers Face a Rising Tide of Persecution (The Center for Justice & Accountability) – October 2012

Action Alerts

2017

Haiti: Human Rights Defenders’ Lives in Danger (Amnesty International) – April 12, 2017

2014

Activists Fighting for Justice Threatened (Amnesty International) – August 4, 2014
Document – Haiti: Women’s Human Rights Defenders Threatened (Amnesty International) – June 13, 2014
Haiti: Fear for safety of human rights defender: Pierre Espérance (Amnesty International) – April 15, 2014

2013

Urgent Action: LGBTI Organization’s Office Attacked in Haiti (Amnesty International) – November 26, 2013

2012

Haiti: Lawyers in Haiti Threatened and Intimidated (Amnesty International) – October 4, 2012

2007

Amnesty International Urgent Action: Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine and Wilson Mesilien (Amnesty International) – December 18, 2007

2006

Jailed Haitian Priest Diagnosed with Leukemia: Your Support Urgently Needed (Human Rights First) – January 2006

Precautionary Measures Requested to/Issued by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

2015

Affaire Juders Ysemé et autres au sujet d’Haïti – July 28, 2015

2014

Pierre Espérance and Members of the Réseau National de Défense des Droits Humains (RNDDH) – June 9, 2014

2013

Patrice Florvilus and members of the organization “Défense des Opprimés” – November 27, 2013 (Français ici)
Human Rights Groups Denounce Illegal Arrest of Haitian Lawyer André Michel (IJDH) – October 24, 2013 (press release)
Members of Union des Citoyens Conséquents pour le Respect des Droits de l’Homme – September 23, 2013 (Français ici)
Human Rights Groups Petition Inter-American Commission to Protect Threatened Haitian Lawyer (IJDH) – September 12, 2013 (press release)
Haitian lawyers request the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to investigate government’s role in suspicious death of Judge Jean Serge Joseph (IJDH) – August 6, 2013 (press release)

2012

Mario Joseph – October 19, 2012
Threats, Harassment and Intimidation Against Attorney Mario Joseph (IJDH) – October 3, 2012

Contact IJDH

Institute for Justice & Democracy In Haiti
867 Boylston Street, 5th Floor
Boston, MA 02116

Telephone: (857)-201-0991
General Inquiries: info@ijdh.org
Media Inquiries: media@ijdh.org